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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI Life Sciences

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | IRI Life Sciences | Events | Colloquium | Organoids | IRI-Schering Colloquium - Marc Leushacke: WNT Signaling and LGR5+ Stem Cells during Homeostasis, Regeneration & Cancer

IRI-Schering Colloquium - Marc Leushacke: WNT Signaling and LGR5+ Stem Cells during Homeostasis, Regeneration & Cancer

  • Organoids
When Jul 05, 2018 from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM (Europe/Vienna / UTC200) iCal
Where IRI Life Sciences, Philippstr. 13, Bld. 18, 3rd Floor
Contact Name


The epithelial lining of multiple organs continuously renews. Adult stem cells residing in specific
compartments are responsible for maintaining homeostasis as well as promoting regeneration in response to injury. Stem cell intrinsic factors as well as extrinsic cues provided by the immediate microenvironment, known as the niche, regulate organ-specific stem cell behaviors. WNT signaling mediates key developmental and homeostatic processes in mammals. De-regulation of the WNT pathway contributes to developmental defects as well as to the initiation and progression of human diseases including cancer. Our goal is to better understand the behavior of adult stem cells in healthy tissues in order to harness their potential for clinical applications in regenerative medicine.
Recently, significant progress has been made in the isolation and in vitro propagation of adult tissue from multiple organs as 3D cultures resembling the cellular architecture, hierarchy and physiology of the in vivo counterpart. We aim to employ transgenic mouse lines, and ex vivo organoid culture techniques to identify additional layers of WNT signal modulation and their impact on stem cell behavior and cell differentiation during embryogenesis, tissue renewal and disease. Revealing additional mechanisms of stem cell regulation in healthy tissues will be a major advance for efforts to harness the regenerative medicine potential of stem cells in the clinic. Furthermore, identifying specific pathway alterations involved in cancer formation and progression will facilitate the development of novel more effective cancer therapeutics.


Marc Leushacke received his Ph.D. in Molecular Cell Biology in 2011 from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics and Free University of Berlin. His thesis describes cellular mechanisms involved in intestinal tissue homeostasis that, when deregulated, contribute to the progression of colon cancer.
In 2011, he joined the group of Nick Barker as a post-doctoral fellow to investigate the role of Lgr5- expressing stem cells in gastric homeostasis and disease. He characterized a novel population of Lgr5-expressing cells affecting gastric epithelial renewal following injury. This work also identified these cells as a major cellular origin of gastric metaplasia. In 2017, he was appointed as Project Leader in the A*STAR Institute of Medical Biology where his research focuses on the role of epithelial stem cells in tissue homeostasis, regeneration and cancer.